Frederick, MD. with some help from Greenville, SC

Trip Start Nov 26, 2010
Trip End Nov 18, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Sunday, May 6, 2012

     We had a bit of a light week with the volunteers- one group from Frederick, Md with about 15 in their group.  So we divied (sp?) 'em up into 3 groups of five and worked at the old quadraplex with Paul, Cooks house and Robert Johnson's- both out in the sticks workin with DeWerken (Pete) and five with me working on the new East Quad.  The block foundation was laid earlier in the week, so we had to pour conrete in the cells and in the base of the saferoom and also worked on building the storage shed, in which we stock all the nails, screws and fasterers for the job.   Chuck Hawley was the leader of the group.  He has been on many, many mission trips with people not only from Md, but also West Va., Va., Ohio and Indiana and in the past the groups have been as many as 90.  There was another Habitat veteran in Big Bernie and three ladies, two of whom were sisters- Mary Lou and (oops, sorry I forgot) and an adopted sister, Jeannie.   The three of them took ownership of the storage shed and got it dangerously close this week.  They all were staying at a motel but while here, took a look at Y's Acres and expressed an interest in maybe coming back in the fall and staying there.
   Later in the week, on Thursday morning, a group of 8 men from Greenville, SC, show up.  Thursday is our weekly staff meeting and when I got onsite at about 9:00, these guys were already going like gangbusters.  Had the mudsill intstalled and starting to frame the floor system.  Our Executive Director, Bob Johnson, had stopped by the site that morning also and had seen this group springing into action and asked me, "Who are these guys?"  Not their first rodeo.  Jonathan and David Gaunt were two brothers who came with the group who have their own construction company and have been working together over 25 years.  In their short stay with us, they completed the floor system and the majority of the safe room on the Major League Baseball sponsored house.  Good thing that they left when they did, or the house would have been finished before the blitz starts later in this month.  On Saturday, I had the day off, so I went to work on the Lion's Den.  Jacob Koch, friend from VA was also down for the week and offered to help me for a few hours Saturday before he drove back home.  We installed the deck and built and raised the first wall.  After Jacob left, I kept plugging away at it by myself (living my motto- "steady pressure and don't panic and you can accomplish anything").  At about 4:30, the Greenville guys show up at camp, home from a hard last days work at Robt. Johnson's home out in the sticks, where they framed the deck there also.  These guys are serious.  So, Pastor Dan, comes up to me and says, want some help?  I saw Jonathan with his sandals on and he looked like he was ready to do some serious relaxing before going home Sunday, but he came back too with the work boots on and their whole team helped from 4:30 to about 7:30 and we kicked some framing butt.  I was so grateful.  Their attitude of service is so inspiring.  Especially, sometimes those who come that are skilled are sometimes hard to work with, but not so with the Gaunt Brothers.  Two young men were also in the group, Philip and Andrew., who did a bunch of the nailing joist hangers (tedious) and deck nailing ( also not that much fun). I attended a bye bye breakfast with the Frederick group at Cracker Barrel and attended service on Sunday at Trinity Pres. with the Greenville group.
      Two great groups and it is our fervent hope that we will see them both again. Thats all for this week- Luv ya- Peter
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Charles Bon on

Peter: Are your safe rooms covered with reinforced concrete or kevlar when you are done framing them in? Just curious. Best Regards, Charles Bon

Jeanne Kozak on

Peter, Thanks for writing the blog to keep us up with what you are doing. We had a great time and hope that we made a difference in your lives, we feel so blessed to be able to participate in the recovery work in Tuscaloosa. I hope we see you again soon. Hi to the SC brothers if you see them again! Mary Lou rode home with us, her sister Janice headed to Tennessee. Greetings from Frederick MD and WV. The Other Sister...Lol

Greg Postle on

Great Blog, Peter!! Please keep us posted as you work on "un-twisting Tuscaloosa".

I agree with Jeanne that we were blessed to help out and look forward to returning from Frederick, MD, to assist you in the future. I just hope we can return with a larger force to help out.

What you said in previous blog entires about being flexible proved to be very important on Thursday of our work week, as almost 1 1/2 inches of rain fell during the work day. Working on the "Old Quad" site, we had to shift from finishing the sheds that the Newark group started. Instead of shelving, Jim, my partner on the shed work, and I wound up inside working on setting tile backsplashes while dodging the plumbers. Then it was a race to run base shoe and countertop trim to stay ahead of the painters (wy wife amongst them).

All in all, it was a great trip and we learned some new tricks to put in our construction knowledge bags. I think we all look forward to working again with you soon!!

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